Sunday, January 18, 2015

How to Make Your Shrimp "Bouncy" (by Bee Yinn Low)

I tried this technique from Bee Yinn Low's Easy Chinese Recipes and it absolutely worked! Here's an excerpt from her cookbook: "Have you ever had Chinese shrimp dishes or dim sum where the shrimp are so crisp and crunchy that they literally "bounce" in your mouth?...After extensive research and many conversations with Chinese chefs and restauranteurs, I eventually came up with the technique that delivers a satisfactory result for home cooks. Again, the secret ingredient is baking soda, which is used to treat the shrimp before they are coated with an egg white and tapioca starch or cornstarch mixture..."

Although her recipe calls for refrigerating the shrimp at least 4-6 hours or preferably overnight after it's been coated with the egg white and cornstarch, I've found that even after only 30 minutes in the frig, the shrimp will still have that "bouncy" quality - a real time saver when you want to do a stir-fry on the fly without having to wait for hours or until the next day to do the dish. Thank you Bee Yinn Low!!!!

Here's the link to her original recipe/post:

Ingredients (double the portion of Bee Yinn Low's recipe, which is for 1 lb. shrimp):
2 lbs. medium or large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 tbsp. baking soda
Cold water
4 cups ice

1 egg white (2 tbsp.)

1 tbsp. cornstarch or tapioca starch

1. Place the shrimp in a bowl and add enough ice water to cover (or you can use tap water with ice cubes). Add the baking soda. Lightly massage the baking soda water into the shrimp with your hands until well combined. 

2. Let sit for 30 minutes.

3. Drain the shrimp in a colander and rinse well with cold running water. Blot dry with paper towels.

4. Place the shrimp in a large bowl and combine well with the egg white and cornstarch. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4-6 hours or (best) overnight. 

Note: If you don't have the time, then by all means you can refrigerate the shrimp for 30 minutes to an hour before using them in your recipe - they will be not be at their bounciest best, but definitely bouncier than when they first started. Just sayin'!

Cover the shrimp with cold or tap water.  

Add ice cubes. Mix in baking soda and massage the shrimp briefly to incorporate. 
Let sit for 30 minutes.  

Rinse the shrimp well in a colander under cold running water.  

Blot the shrimp dry with paper towels.  

Remove the shrimp to a bowl and add the egg white and cornstarch. 

Mix gently until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight before using. If in a time crunch, however, you can use this mixture after 30 minutes to a half hour in the frig. 


  1. Is this how salt and pepper shrimp starts out? Yes?

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. hi , this recipe is for fried or steam ? Im trying to fried the shrimp , its doesnt work.

    1. Hi, you can use this for stir-frying or steaming. It's supposed to make the shrimp more tender-crisp. I've used this method many times and it works well. What kind of recipe are you making?

  4. do you need to wash off the egg white and starch if roasting the shrimp?

    1. Hi Janet, I've never used this recipe to roast shrimp before (just for stir-frying or steaming in Chinese recipes), so I'm not sure what to recommend. If you do try to use this recipe for roasting and leave the coating on, let me know how it turns out :)

  5. Hi, do you need to wash off the egg white and starch if frying the shrimps ?

    1. Hi! No need to wash off egg white and cornstarch if frying the shrimp. They will help give the shrimp a crispy coating.

  6. If i jus wanna the tender and bouncy feel but not the coating, so u wash off the corn starch and egg white coating?

    1. Yes, you can just wash off the coating - that will work fine.